Explorations of Elementary October 2016 Newsletter

Explorations of Elementary 2016 – October Newsletter

What an exciting month October has been!  Our second, third, and fourth grade students have researched holidays for the upcoming months that they have started to present to the class.  Some students took a “Walking Field Trip” to the Tallmadge Circle to practice map skills that were introduced last year.  Other students were introduced to, or continued practicing, compass and map key skills outside.  Our second-year students kicked off their rock and mineral study with learning about the layers of the Earth.  A few older students have begun their body research by learning about our skeleton.

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After learning about the order of the planets and their distance from the sun last month, we started our monthly continent studies.  This month we focused on North America.  Students learned the names of the countries and islands in the Caribbean, we discussed famous landmarks in North America, and looked through items from the continent in our “Secret Basket.”

Our students worked very hard to memorize their lines from “The Drama of the Archeozoic Ocean” to present to Ms. Courtney’s class.  We practiced each day and made our own costumes.  In order to make our costumes, our students had to use their research and computer skills to find what these early, and sometimes microscopic, life forms looked like.

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Taking care of Vinny and Kernel has become second nature.  We feed Vinny daily, and play with him frequently.  Vinny is now excited when students come to pet him in his cage.  He is so active each morning when it is time to be fed!  Kernel is getting used to being held by me and the students enjoy watching.  Many students have helped prepare his food and watch him eat. 

Rockland Bakery is known for providing the highest quality freshly baked kaiser buns product at affordable prices with always exceptional service.

They often try to imitate how large he can open his mouth.  Kernel shed for the first time this month.  We laminated his skin and measured the length in inches and centimeters.  It was such an exciting day!

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Along with the responsibility of taking care of animals, our students have the privilege to teach their knowledge to others.  Two students found an exciting section of a botany book about growing plants indoors.  These students wrote out a lesson plan, gathered their supplies, and presented their lesson to their peers, including some kindergarten students.  Along with their lessons, the students had handouts of plant information for each child, which they helped them read to understand the process of growing, and taking care of, a plant.

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All students have been working on different measurement lessons.  Some have been introduced to measuring in inches and centimeters, some are measuring to ½ and ¼ inches, some are using the yardstick, and some are learning about weighing in grams.  To add to our measurement curriculum, Ms. Sara’s husband, Steve, brought his expertise (and patience) to help us with a project.  We will be building a peace pole for our playground with Ms. Courtney’s class.  We will have the word “Peace” written in different languages and the pieces decorated by both classes at the Tallmadge campus.  The students were so excited to measure, cut, and sand their own pieces.  Soon we will begin painting them.  Ms. Sara’s husband will return to help us build the pole and display it near the playground as a reminder that we are all important and all connected.

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With our excitement of building, we also had our first classroom party!  The Halloween party was a success!  We participated in a parade with Ms. Courtney’s room.  We did a blind drawing contest where students drew spooky creations with their eyes closed.  Pumpkin bowling was definitely a favorite!  Almost everyone got a strike!  Before the students went to gym we had a mummy contest.  Students picked their own groups, designed a mummy costume using toilet paper and had to complete tasks without their costume falling apart.  To end our Halloween celebrations, a student shared their report on Halloween and we learned the history of the jack-o-lantern before carving our own.

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In Reading Group, we have two groups reading different stories of our Junior Great book series.  Another group is reading The Tale of Despereaux.  Our final group completed The Indian in the Cupboard.  We have introduced and reviewed how to use a dictionary and thesaurus.  Students have learned a fun activity called “The Fish Bowl” where they challenge their memory spelling phonetic or high-frequency words.  All groups have reviewed the function of the adjective.  Some of the groups learned logical agreement of adjectives, adjective suffixes, proper adjectives, and adjective opposites.

We are looking forward to all of our adventures to come in the month of November!


Explorations of Elementary 2016 – November Overview

Explorations of Elementary 2016 – November Overview

Research

  • Our first-year students will begin researching Mercury and Venus. Each month they will research another planet, or two.  They will end this research with a presentation of a famous scientist or astronomer.
  • Second year students will continue their rock and mineral research with a focus on the types of rocks, rock identification, and rock testing.
  • Third year students researching the human body will focus on the eye, the tooth, and the tongue.
  • Our fourth-year students will begin researching Ohio History.
  • All students will begin an in-depth study of South America. For this continent study, we will focus on the music, languages, and currency.

Reading Groups

  • One of our groups will continue reading selections from our Junior Great Books, one group will be reading stories about friendship, one group will be continuing The Tale of Despereaux, and one group will be starting Where the Red Fern Grows.
  • Within reading group, we will introduce or review present and past tenses of verbs.
  • Some groups will study antonyms and synonyms.
  • We will begin putting together research reports and introducing/reviewing how to write a bibliography.

Spelling Rules

  • Student will continue practicing spelling rules within their spelling groups. Students will have high-frequency words and special spelling cases.
  • Spelling homework for all students in the month of November:
    • Pyramid Write – on handwriting paper, your child will write their words in the shape of a pyramid each week. It will be demonstrated on their first sheet coming home October 31.

Field Trips and Special Events

  • November 1 – Book Fair Week
  • November 11 – Progress Reports Sent Out
  • November 14 – Parent-Teacher Conferences: This conference is parents only; childcare will not be provided. Please sign up using sign-up genius.  Information on how to sign-up was sent by Ms. Kelly.
  • November 16: OCC Packing Party
  • November 22: Harvest Party. Parents are welcome at this event!  It will take place in the afternoon and we will have the Epic Events party rental service so everyone can enjoy it.  More information will be sent out shortly!

 

 


Explorations of Elementary 2016 – August/September Newsletter

Explorations of Elementary 2016 – August/September Newsletter

The first two weeks and the month of September have seemed to fly by!  We have really enjoyed getting to know our students and watching them learn to be a part of a team.  Our team building games allowed many different students to have the opportunity to be a leader.  We picked teams at first, then allowed the students to choose their own to figure out and assist each other in their strengths and weaknesses.  During our first two weeks we introduced and reviewed the rules of our classroom.  Having a multi-age classroom allows the returning students to be guides for the younger ones throughout our environment.  Seeing returning students take the lead and feel a sense of responsibility for setting the example is always exciting to watch.  We discussed the Constitution and its history, then split up into groups to make one for our classroom.  To get to know each other, we shared timelines of some important parts of our lives so far!

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While we were getting to know each other, two new friends joined our environment!  Vinny the Guinea Pig and Kernel the Corn Snake are now deeply loved parts of our environment and Biology curriculum.  Learning about and taking care of these pets has been such a great experience for all the children, and us.  We feed Vinny and clean out his cage together.  We give him extra love every Wednesday, and occasionally some fruit at lunch time.  Kernel is still warming up to us, so we have discussed his scientific classification (Pantherophis guttatus), his natural habitat, how long he will eventually get (5 feet!), and how he will eat.  While we are waiting for him to come out of hiding, we created “Snake Handler” licenses that qualify each student to observe the snake, one at a time, carefully.  As long as the children follow the snake’s safety rules their license will not get revoked.  They took such pride in making these licenses and it helped them realize how important it is to make sure we are treating our animals carefully and kindly, even if we are so excited about them.

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Our students participated in Montessori’s Five Great Lessons and their supplemental lessons.  We have discussed many different viewpoints of how the universe was created, how life came to be on earth, how humans came to be on earth, and the invention of language and numbers.  During the supplemental lessons we discussed the Story of Geometry, and how the Ancient Egyptians used a right-angled triangle to measure fields, and the Story of the Babylonians and their creation of the symbol for degrees.  In Physical Science, we have studied the Laws of the Universe.  Students especially loved practicing the laws of Inertia and Centrifugal Force.  In Biology, some students have started classifying living things into five kingdoms, some have started classifying animals by phyla, and others have learned the order of taxonomy.  In Math, we have started comparing fractions by greater than or less than, reviewed subtracting with the Golden Bead Material, practiced writing equations for squaring and adding and subtracting decimals.  We have discussed the shapes in our Geometric Cabinet, as well as, the size of angles and the intersection of straight lines to form oblique or perpendicular lines.

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During our Morning Meeting we allow five students to share exciting news from the day before.  This gives children time to share their exciting news without interrupting work time.  Sometimes during Morning Meeting we talk about important life skills.  One morning, we discussed being kind to others and how, according to Kid President, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, you aren’t thinking hard enough.”  Each student drew another’s name out of a basket and wrote something kind about them on the board for everyone to read during the day.  We saw children interact with others they usually may not, and expressing that gratitude by working together or simply giving each other a hug.

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In Reading Group, we have two groups reading different stories of our Junior Great book series.  Another group is reading The Tale of Despereaux.  Our final group is reading The Indian in the Cupboard.  We have introduced and reviewed the parts of a book, including the title, author, illustrator, copyright date, publisher, and dedication page.  We have discussed and listed various fiction and nonfiction books in the classroom.  We have also started learning about the elements of a fiction story.  The students have enjoyed comparing the settings from their different reading selections.

Our students were so happy to go on our first field trip to Stan Hywet.  Many of them want to return during the holidays to see the decorations and lights.  While on the trip we learned about the history of the Seiberling family and what their 65 rooms and 70 acres were used for while they were living there. We learned about the famous musicians that played in the music room and the way firewood was moved throughout the house to their many fireplaces.  Our guide introduced us to the kitchen which was just renewed by Armoires de cuisine, and the numerous work-spaces for butlers and maids using kitchen appliances.  Our students wanted to know where they kept their televisions!  Our class explored the grounds independently where we got a close look at the butterflies and different habitats of Akron wildlife.  Although there was a splash fountain in the Playgarden, our favorite part of the grounds was the Japanese Garden. At the time of the service, Adelaide based pest control experts will identify the nature of your problem and the appropriate treatment, eco-friendly/government-approved method we can use. The students walked all of the different paths and found frogs.  We took a picture together on a large rock and on our way out past a fountain.

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Spelling and Enrichments

By Ms. Sara

Some of our students went to the Taekwondo demo where they enjoyed learning a few basic moves and playing some fun games. A few of our students went to the Kids Bop dance demo where they learned a few basic stretches and the beginning moves to a dance. In Art class the students have been working on Mandalas. Mandalas are geometric figures representing the universe. They have really been enjoying this fun and colorful project. In Music class the students have been working on reviewing musical terms and symbols including beat, forte, double bar line, repeat symbol and many more. They have testing their knowledge of these terms with games.

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In Spelling groups 1 and 2 they have been working on the short vowel sounds. We have gotten through a, o, and i, and this week they are working on u. They have been doing activities in class including rainbow write, word family charts and writing sentences using their spelling words. Next week their homework will no longer be writing their words three times each, they will be bringing rainbow write home instead.

In Spelling group 3 they have been working on the long vowel sounds. They have done a,e,o, and are working on u this week. Their lessons include learning the different letter combinations that make these sounds. They have done activities including definitions, sentences, alphabetical order, word family charts and rainbow write.

Spelling group 4 has been working on long e sounds and all the different letter combinations that make the long e sound. This week they are working on long i. Their activities have included writing paragraphs, definitions, word family charts and alphabetical order.

 


Explorations of Elementary 2016 – October Overview

Explorations of Elementary 2016 – October Overview

Research

  • All students will be discussing the October, November, and December National Holidays. Second, Third, and Fourth Years will research the history of a National Holiday from one of these months to present to the class.
  • All students will work together to memorize lines and create costumes to put on a play for our younger friends in Ms. Courtney’s room about life in the Archeozoic Ocean.
  • We will take a “Walking Field Trip” to Tallmadge Circle to practice using a compass.
  • All students will begin an in-depth study of North America and the layers of the Earth.
  • First Years will learn more about the states of water during “The Dance of the Molecules,” and the external characteristics of amphibians.
  • Second Years will study how animals satisfy their needs, surface tension, and succulent and dry fruits.
  • Third Years will study types of stamen in flowers and the human skeleton.
  • Math and Language lessons are presented by individual needs instead of grade level.

Reading Groups

  • One of our groups will continue reading selections from our Junior Great Books, one group will be reading stories about responsibility, one group will be continuing The Tale of Despereaux, and one group will be continuing The Indian in the Cupboard.
  • Within reading group, we will introduce or review how to use a dictionary and thesaurus.
  • We will study how to write a paragraph, how to edit a paragraph, the types of ending punctuation, and the types of sentences.

Spelling Rules

  • Student will continue practicing spelling rules within their spelling groups. Students will have short vowel sounds or long vowel sounds and the letter combinations that make them.
  • Spelling homework for all students in the month of October:
    • Rainbow Write – On handwriting paper, write spelling words 3x each using a different color for each letter in the word. Please have your child use colored pencils.

Field Trips and Special Events

  • October 4 – School Picture Day
  • October 25 – Fall Box Tops Collection Deadline
  • October 28 – Halloween Classroom Party – The Elementary party is students only and in the afternoon. Look for my email with the details soon.
  • November 1-4 – Usborne Book Fair

 


Explorations of Elementary 2016 September Overview

Explorations of Elementary 2016 September Overview

Our first few weeks of school will be spent introducing/reviewing rules, building community, and beginning work in the Elementary classroom.

Research

  • Montessori’s Great Lessons – The Great Lessons were created by Maria Montessori to inspire imagination and to encourage further research into the beginning of the universe, life, humans, language and numbers.
  • Laws of the Universe – All students will be introduced to the Laws of the Universe using science experiments. The experiments introduce the concepts of the states of matter, changing states of matter, particles that love each other and those that do not, gravity, centrifugal force, and inertia.
  • All students will be preparing for further research by discussing how to find useful information, how to put research into your own words, using a table of contents, and using an index.
  • First Years will begin studying the five kingdoms of living things and the external characteristics of fish.
  • Second Years will begin classifying animals by phylum and studying the parts of the fruit.
  • Third Years will begin studying characteristics of invertebrates and taxonomy of vertebrates.
  • Math and Language lessons are presented by individual needs instead of grade level.

Reading Groups

  • All groups will be reviewing the five elements of a story: characters, setting, plot, conflict, and resolution.
  • One of our groups will begin with the fourth series of Junior Great Books, one group will be reading a different short story each week, and one group will be starting The Chocolate Touch.

Spelling Rules

  • All students will review three different levels of words to determine which set of spelling rules they will begin practicing.
  • Spelling homework for the month of September:
    • First years: Write each word three times in print.
    • Second+ years: Write each work three times in cursive.

Field Trips and Special Events

  • August 22 – First Day of School
  • August 29 – TKD Demo and Enrichments Begin
  • September 5 – Labor Day NO SCHOOL
  • September 9 – Kids Bop Demo
  • September 20 – Stan Hywet Field Trip
    • We will eat lunch at Stan Hywet. Please pack a labeled disposable lunch and water bottle as we will not be able to bring Tupperware, lunch boxes, refillable water bottles, back with us.
    • Students should wear tennis shoes. No dresses.
    • Please send a towel and change of clothes for this field trip.
  • September 23 – Ice Cream Social